Germany Expels Top US Intelligence Official, Says It Will (Officially) Spy Back On US And UK
from the no-more-no-spy dept
Techdirt has been following the complicated German reaction to Edward Snowden's revelations about US and UK surveillance of people in that country, whether or not in high places, for some while now. Although the German public has been deeply shocked by the leaks, the German government has been keen to preserve good relations with the US. But the revelation that there was not just one but probably two double agents working for the US within the German secret services has taken the country's unhappiness with its ally up a notch, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel has finally reacted with a classic diplomatic punishment, reported here by the Guardian:
The German government has asked the top representative of America's secret services in Germany to leave the country. Members of the government's supervisory panel announced the measure at a press conference in Berlin this afternoon.
This comes just after the Independent newspaper carried the following story about another significant German response to US (and UK) spying:
Clemens Binninger, a member of Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats, who chairs the committee that oversees the intelligence services, explained that the move came in response to America's "failure to cooperate on resolving various allegations, starting with the NSA and up to the latest incidents".
Chancellor Angela Merkel's government is planning to scrap a no-spy agreement Germany has held with Britain and the United States since 1945 in response to an embarrassing US-German intelligence service scandal which has deeply soured relations between Berlin and Washington.
It may well be that some "unofficial" German spying on the US had been going on until now, but the fact that Angela Merkel's interior minister has made an official statement of his country's intent to spy on the US, UK and France is a clear signal of her displeasure with the surveillance activities of those "so-called" allies. Given Germany's rapidly-escalating response here, an interesting question is: What will it do if/when the next big spying scandal breaks?
The unprecedented change to Berlin's counter-espionage policy was announced by Ms Merkel’s Interior Minister, Thomas de Maizière. He said that Berlin wanted "360-degree surveillance" of all intelligence-gathering operations in Germany.
Mr de Maizière told Bild that he was now not ruling out permanent German counter-espionage surveillance of US, British and French intelligence operations. His remarks were echoed by Stephan Mayer, a domestic security spokesman for Ms Merkel’s ruling Christian Democrats. “We must focus more strongly on our so-called allies,” he said.